Robber fly - Nature photographer Thomas Shahan specializes in amazing portraits of tiny insects. It isn't easy. Shahan says that this Robber Fly (Holcocephala fusca), for instance, is "skittish" and doesn't like its picture taken.

Eye-popping bug photos

Nature by Numbers (Video)

"The Greater Akashic System" – July 15, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) (Subjects: Lightworkers, Intent, To meet God, Past lives, Universe/Galaxy, Earth, Pleiadians, Souls Reincarnate, Invention: Measure Quantum state in 3D, Recalibrates, Multi-Dimensional/Divine, Akashic System to change to new system, Before religion changed the system, DNA, Old system react to Karma, New system react to intent now for next life, Animals (around humans) reincarnate again, This Animal want to come back to the same human, Akashic Inheritance, Reincarnate as Family, Other Planets, Global Unity … etc.)

Question: Dear Kryon: I live in Spain. I am sorry if I will ask you a question you might have already answered, but the translations of your books are very slow and I might not have gathered all information you have already given. I am quite concerned about abandoned animals. It seems that many people buy animals for their children and as soon as they grow, they set them out somewhere. Recently I had the occasion to see a small kitten in the middle of the street. I did not immediately react, since I could have stopped and taken it, without getting out of the car. So, I went on and at the first occasion I could turn, I went back to see if I could take the kitten, but it was to late, somebody had already killed it. This happened some month ago, but I still feel very sorry for that kitten. I just would like to know, what kind of entity are these animals and how does this fit in our world. Are these entities which choose this kind of life, like we do choose our kind of Human life? I see so many abandoned animals and every time I see one, my heart aches... I would like to know more about them.

Answer: Dear one, indeed the answer has been given, but let us give it again so you all understand. Animals are here on earth for three (3) reasons.

(1) The balance of biological life. . . the circle of energy that is needed for you to exist in what you call "nature."

(2) To be harvested. Yes, it's true. Many exist for your sustenance, and this is appropriate. It is a harmony between Human and animal, and always has. Remember the buffalo that willingly came into the indigenous tribes to be sacrificed when called? These are stories that you should examine again. The inappropriateness of today's culture is how these precious creatures are treated. Did you know that if there was an honoring ceremony at their death, they would nourish you better? Did you know that there is ceremony that could benefit all of humanity in this way. Perhaps it's time you saw it.

(3) To be loved and to love. For many cultures, animals serve as surrogate children, loved and taken care of. It gives Humans a chance to show compassion when they need it, and to have unconditional love when they need it. This is extremely important to many, and provides balance and centering for many.

Do animals know all this? At a basic level, they do. Not in the way you "know," but in a cellular awareness they understand that they are here in service to planet earth. If you honor them in all three instances, then balance will be the result. Your feelings about their treatment is important. Temper your reactions with the spiritual logic of their appropriateness and their service to humanity. Honor them in all three cases.

Dian Fossey's birthday celebrated with a Google doodle

Dian Fossey's birthday celebrated with a Google doodle
American zoologist played by Sigourney Weaver in the film Gorillas in the Mist would have been 82 on Thursday (16 January 2014)

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

19,000 Indonesians Flee Erupting Mt. Sinabung Volcano

Jakarta Globe – AFP, December 31, 2013

A villager walks under heavy ashfall after a fresh eruption of Mount Sinabung
volcano covered Karo district on Sept. 17, 2013. (AFP Photo/Kharisma Tarigan)

More than 19,000 people have been displaced by a volcano in Indonesia that has been erupting for months and shot lava into the air nine times overnight, an official said Tuesday.

Mount Sinabung on the western island of Sumatra sent hot rocks and ash 7,000 meters (23,000 feet) in the air Monday night and Tuesday morning, National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said.

“Mount Sinabung remains on the highest alert level and we have warned there should be no human activity within a five-kilometer (three-mile) radius of the crater,” Sutopo said.

“On Monday night, 19,126 people had fled their homes, and we expect that number to rise,” he said.

Police and soldiers were patrolling the danger zone to evacuate people who have chosen to stay in their homes, Nugroho said.

Mount Sinabung — one of dozens of active volcanoes in Indonesia which straddles major tectonic fault lines, known as the Ring of Fire — erupted in September for the first time since 2010 and has been rumbling ever since.

In August, five people were killed and hundreds evacuated when a volcano on a tiny island in East Nusa Tenggara province erupted.

The country’s most active volcano, Mount Merapi in central Java, killed more than 350 people in a series of violent eruptions in 2010.

Agence France-Presse


Mount Sinabung spews hot lava as seen from the Suka
 Ndebi village in Karo, North Sumatra, Indonesia on Jan. 5, 
2014. (EPA Photo)

Sunday, December 29, 2013

City’s Former Dancing Monkeys Now Seeking Their Own Isle of Refuge

Jakarta Globe, Nivell Rayda, December 29, 2013

The Jakarta Animal Aid Network has an island where released macaques can
live freely. (Photo courtesy of the Jakarta Animal Aid Network)

In one cage, a pack of macaques screamed loudly, standing upright to make their bodies appear larger. They were taunting and provoking a rival group locked in the cage next to them and the two sides immediately engaged in a standoff.

Occasionally, the macaques stretched out their arms, trying to swipe those in the other cage.

One macaque observed the fight closely from his own cage, big enough to fit his body, but just barely. His face betrayed fear.

“We are trying to introduce this macaque to his new group,” said Femke den Haas, the wild animal protection coordinator with the Jakarta Animal Aid Network, as she pushed the lone macaque’s cage closer to a bigger confinement hosting four macaques.

The lone macaque was shaking as the cage moved, instinctively grabbing hold of the metal bars tightly, turning its back on the pack as if trying to run away.

Femke said the lone macaque needed time to get used to seeing other primates after spending most of its life confined to small cages, dressed like a human, forced to wear suffocating plastic masks, performing tricks, begging for small change on the streets from passing motorists and pedestrians and getting beaten if it didn’t do what it was told.

The macaques Femke showed me were all formerly topeng monyet performers, seized by the Jakarta administration in a series of raids that began in October in a bid to make the Indonesian capital free of the monkey sideshows by 2014.

More than a hundred macaques have been confiscated and are now in the custody of the city administration and cared for by JAAN. But Femke said there could be as many as 200 more that were still being kept in cages by their owners.

Animal rights groups like JAAN have lauded the move by the city, noting that 10 percent of the macaques tested positive for tuberculosis and all carried parasites that could spread to humans.

“By banning topeng monyet, Jokowi [Governor Joko Widodo] shows he cares also about the health of Jakarta’s residents and cares about animal welfare at the same time,” Femke said.

Monkey island

But JAAN is at odds with what the administration plans to do with the macaques. Joko has said the city plans to move the healthy macaques to Ragunan Zoo, adding that the city has prepared a one-hectare field just for them.

“Ragunan still copes with many welfare problems for animals under its care,” Femke said, adding the zoo had a high number of deaths among its animals and poor welfare standards and facilities.

The zoo has also shut its doors to NGOs like JAAN and there is virtually no independent oversight of its operations.

“In Ragunan, orangutans still suffer in small cages. If orangutans are not cared for professionally, what about non-endangered macaques?” Femke said.

She added the best solution was to relocate the macaques to an island where they could live free in the wild, as JAAN did in 2006 for dozens of rescued former dancing macaques.

“The ones we released on the present monkey island are now totally independent. They fish and eat young leaves and fruits from the forests,” she said adding that the chances of them being poached again was remote. “We have two caretakers checking the monkeys and providing extra food when needed.”

JAAN is currently looking for a suitable island for the latest batch and believes it may have found one.

It is located in the Sunda Strait, which separates Java and Sumatra, and boasts 20 hectares of forest. Macaques are found on other islands in the strait but not on this particular one, Femke said, signaling that the macaques now in the custody of the Jakarta administration could survive all on their own there.

“The macaques can do no harm to the present fauna and flora there as the island has been thoroughly surveyed,” she said.

“It’s a perfect option for the rescued dancing macaques. All we want is for the macaques to live a happy monkey life in a safe environment where we can still observe, treat and feed them.”

People can help

The island is privately owned, but the owner is willing to sell it for a relatively low price to help the monkeys. But JAAN has a deadline of June 2014 to buy the island, and the animal rights group is now calling for public support to help raise the money needed. For $30, people can buy a square meter of the island. JAAN will send a picture of their name on the island’s information board.

“When the topeng monyet were still very much seen in Jakarta we received daily reports from people complaining about this, who felt sorry and asked us to do something about it,” Femke said.

“Now we hope the many people that have complained will also help us to care for the monkeys and help ensure they get a good future. The future they deserve.”

If JAAN fails to meet the June deadline, the animal rights group plans to lobby the city and Ragunan Zoo and use the money to construct a proper facility for the macaques.

“A beautiful outside enclosure can be developed in which the macaques can feel as if they are free. A small museum can be constructed there as well which can serve as an educational center for the public,” Femke said.

Stop fueling the trade

Femke said it was important for people to stop giving money to the macaques’ handlers as part of the topeng monyet performances.

Whether the macaques will be relocated to an island or end up in a zoo, it is important to construct the museum so that people can see pictures of the macaques while they were still dancing on the street, look at the equipment they used like wooden bikes and masks, and educate the public on why it was so bad for the macaques.

Macaques “are often seen in plantations or near human habitat and easily fall victim to poachers,” Femke said. “The mother is often killed in the process as the babies are trapped.”

The babies are brought to Jakarta and other major cities and are sold as pets or dancing monkeys.

Once in the hands of topeng monyet trainers, they undergo long training sessions and endure all sorts of torture and cruelty. “They are starved, beaten, hanged, and their teeth pulled out. Most of the monkeys we received and care for now have even had their tails broken,” Femke said.

One macaque pounded the ground repeatedly for no apparent reason, almost like a person trying to shake off a traumatizing scene inside his head.

Femke said it was important for the public to know about this, adding that people could also be inspired to pressure other cities to adopt the same policy as in Jakarta, keeping their respective streets free of the barbaric topeng monyet.

Help Save the Macaques
To find out more on how to donate or other ways to lend support, go to:
Website: jakartaanimalaid.com
E-mail: info@jakartaanimalaid.com
Twitter: @jaan_indonesia
Related Article:


Monday, December 23, 2013

Conservationist Laments Fast Decline in Indonesia’s Small Rhino Population

Jakarta Globe, December 23, 2013

A baby Sumatran rhino with its mother at Way Kambas park in
Lampung. (EPA Photo/Hadi Wijoyo)

Indonesia has seen a dramatic decline in the number of Javan and Sumatran rhinos over the past eight years, according to a director of an organization dedicated to preserving the animals.

“Rhinos can no longer be found in Jambi, South Sumatra and Bengkulu — places that were once the main habitat for those populations,” Indonesia Rhino Foundation (YABI) executive director Widodo Ramono said, as quoted by Antaranews.com.

According to him, the rhino population not in captivity in Java and Sumatra has fallen from 800 eight years ago to an estimated 100 now. Thirty of them are in Way Kambas National Park, Lampung.

The remainder, he said, now live in South Bukit Barisan National Park, spanning the Sumatran provinces of Lampung, Bengkulu and South Sumatra.

Speaking at a workshop and socialization event for law enforcement against the killing and trade of protected animals, Widodo called on the government and public to make serious efforts to protect the animals, which are on the brink of extinction.

Rhino horns remain a sought-after ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine, and demand for it in countries such as China and Vietnam has led to thousands of the animals being killed across Africa and Asia in recent years.

“Rhinos are part of what supports humans’ ecosystem,” he said. “Poaching and forest encroachment have become the main cause of their decline.”

Widodo said YABI was committed to ensuring local rhinos were well protected.

“It is such a shame conservation efforts cannot balance out the speed at which they are going extinct,” he said.

Related Article:


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Two insecticides a risk for human nervous system: EU

Google – AFP, 17 December 2013

Certain insecticides have linked to the decline in bee populations (AFP/File,
Philippe Huguen)

Brussels — The EU warned Tuesday that two widely used insecticides, one of which has already been implicated in bee population decline, may pose a risk to human health.

The neonicotinoid insecticides acetamiprid and imidacloprid "may affect the developing human nervous system," the European Food Safety Authority said, the first time such a link has been made.

As a result, experts wanted "some guidance levels for acceptable exposure ... to be lowered while further research is carried out to provide more reliable data on developmental neurotoxicity (DNT)."

The EFSA said its opinion was based on recent research and existing data on "the potential of acetamiprid and imidacloprid to damage the developing human nervous system -- in particular the brain."

The research suggested the two insecticides "may adversely affect the development of neurons and brain structures associated with functions such as learning and memory," the EFSA said in a statement.

"It concluded that some current guidance levels for acceptable exposure ... may not be protective enough to safeguard against developmental neurotoxicity and should be reduced," the EFSA added.

Earlier this year, the European Union restricted the use of a series of insecticides made by Swiss chemicals giant Syngenta and its German peer Bayer on concerns they were responsible for a catastrophic decline in bee populations.

In May, it banned for two years the use of imidacloprid -- cited in Tuesday's action -- and clothianidin produced by Bayer, along with thiamethoxam made by Syngenta, to treat seeds or be sprayed on soil or plants and cereals which attract bees.

In July, it restricted the use of fipronil, made by Germany's BASF, for similar reasons.
Bee numbers have slumped in Europe and the United States in recent years due to a mysterious plague dubbed colony collapse disorder (CCD), sparking concerns crop pollination and so food production could be put dangerously at risk.

It is estimate bees account for some 80 percent of plant pollination by insects.

The companies involved insist that their products are not at fault and Sygenta and Bayer said in August they would take legal action against Brussels.

Related Article:
Kryon Q&A

Question: I would appreciate a perspective on the following: There seems to be two opposed schools of thought with respect to pesticides and their use. One group categorically states that they are very dangerous and that they are responsible for causing cancers etc... (there's a very long list!!) The other group naturally claims that they are perfectly safe with today's technological advances etc.

Answer: The chemicals you are using today are dangerous to your health. The more they are used, the more it will be seen over time. We have indicated before that there are far better natural scientific solutions to protecting your crops. Use biology to balance biology. It is non-toxic and simply an alteration of what already exists.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Tanzania embraces new system of growing rice

Deutsche Welle, 19 December 2013

Residents of Morogoro,Tanzania,have adapted a new system of growing rice that is weather friendly and cost effective.


Until recently, farmers in this village located 218km (135 miles) from the capital Dar es Salaam, believed it was impossible to grow rice without flooding the field, but due to water shortages, the new technique known as 'System of Rice Intensification' (SRI), reduces the need to supply water to the fields.

With this system seedlings are grown in a non-flooded nursery and replanted, at a shallow depth of only 1-2 cm deep in a paddy field.

The plot is then left to dry until cracks become visible when another thin layer of water is introduced, unlike in the past when large amounts of water were supplied in the field.

As the rice seedlings grow some farmers irrigate every evening, others leave the fields to dry over a 3-8 day period, depending on soil and climate conditions.

With this system farmers have been able to reduce on the use of chemical fertilizers and production costs and as a result, their incomes have greatly improved.

Happy farmers

Mwajuma Ramadhani, a farmer from Kiroka village can now plan for her children's education better than before as she doesn't have to worry about food for her family anymore.

The 47-year-old widow is among farmers who can testify on the benefits of the new system. “I am very happy with this technique because since I started using it, my crop yields have gone up, she told DW,” I can now get enough food for my family and sell the surplus.”

From her humble beginnings, Ramadhani hardly got 5 bags of rice per acre when she was still using the old method, but with SRI her yields have remarkably improved.

“I harvested 30 bags of rice last season and that was the highest since I started using this method” she said.

Morogoro Rural Agriculture Field Officer who oversees farming activities in the village, Edith Kija told DW that with SRI paddy seedling can thrive well with minimum soil moisture.

“We tell them to keep a distance of 25cms between paddy seedlings to provide room for the robust growth and redistribution of the stems,” she said.

Every farmer in Morogoro has a positive story to tell about SRI because the new technique has not only enabled them to conserve land but also be mindful about the effects of climate change.

International support

Under the project,' Strengthening the capacity for climate Change Adaptation through Sustainable Land and Water Management', the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has trained 268 farmers with multiple skills to prevent soil erosion, reduce deforestation and manage water and soil fertility.

FAO representative to Tanzania Diana Tempelman, told DW that the agency promotes conservation agriculture in Tanzania with the view to reduce carbon emissions and also to increase carbon sequestration in the soil.

“We are aiming to work together with local populations in Tanzania who can identify crop varieties suitable for drier circumstances,” she said.

Fighting soil erosion

To address soil erosion, farmers in Tanzania have been taught to dig contours bunds locally known in the Swahili language as ‘Fanya Chini' in order to maintain soil fertility.

“We trained them how to align the contours using local tools, we also encouraged them to grow barrier crops including pineapples and bananas to strengthen the bunds,” said Henry Mahoo, a professor of agricultural engineering who supervised the project.

Rajabu Juma is one of the veteran farmers at Kiroka who finds water and soil management skills useful as he applies them on his farm.

“My friends see digging of trenches as an inconvenience, but I have seen the benefit since I am able to retain water and soil fertility,” he said.

The 60-year-old is among Kiroka farmers who have accepted multiple interventions to protect their livelihoods.

Climate change impacts

According to Economics of Climate Change study published in 2011, the country's average temperature has increased over the last 30 years with rainfall becoming erratic.

The government estimates that, without proper adaptation, yields from crops like maize could fall by up to 16% by 2030 which translates into a million tonne per year.

According to Prof. Mahoo, climate change has triggered the dwindling of water resources which have affected irrigation schemes thus causing water conflicts.

“We may not be the major cause of climate change but since it is a global issue we are entangled,” he said.

Prof. Mahoo said rice intensification system has been effective to most farmers in the lowlands who are affected by water shortages.“

Most farmers are better off with this method because rice production can increase up to four folds, last year we had a farmer who produced11.6 tonnes of rice per hectare,” he said.

Related Article:


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

What If Animals Could Talk To You? Fascinating Woman Speaks Telepathically With Animals.

Collective Evolution, December 17, 2013
 
I’ve just watched the most incredible film about communicating with animals. The message it brings us is so deep. I feel that Anna Breytenbach, a highly skilled telepathic inter-species communicator, holds an important key to the evolution of humanity and this planet. Anna understands the trauma experienced by the animals in the documentary in a way that I have never seen before; transforming a deadly growling black leopard into a peaceful cat; having wild baboons groom her hair; experiencing fish swimming right up to her in a river; wild birds landing on her shoulder and more.

It’s all about the vibration! So what does this mean for us?

It’s no secret that the human race as a whole has lost something incredibly sacred and divine; the ability to communicate soul to soul with absolute authenticity. We have lost the ability to permeate through the veil of illusion and connect with what is really real. If people are able to openly embrace the gift of communication with other animals and nature, we’d experience first hand the inter-connectedness of all life. We’d sense the need to honour and respect the earth and all of our fellow sentient beings. For humans this would mean reclaiming the lost aspects of our soul and meeting in the place where we no longer judge one another; the space where we align with the natural flow of the universe. We’d know exactly how we are meant to co-exist and live in harmony with this world. This opens the pathway to the higher paradigm.

I can highly recommend this full length 52 minute documentary film on the art of animal communication, viewable at the link below.

But first watch this deeply inspiring clip about the amazing story of the black leopard encounter. Does this inspire you to want to get in touch with communicating with animals?


Written By: Trinity Bourne
Republished to CE by request.

Source of Article

http://openhandweb.org/animal_communication_documentary


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“… Animals. You love them, don't you? What do you know about animals, especially the ones you care for and love, the ones you call pets? They have personalities, don't they? They can talk to you! When they communicate, what does that sound like, dear one? What do their voices sound like? "Well, Kryon, you already know they don't have an actual voice." Oh really? Then how do they "talk" to you? Now it gets good, doesn't it? They communicate through concepts. Their conceptual thought groups are available for you to pick up. So guess where you pick up these thoughts? It's through your pineal, which is the interpreter of multidimensional things in your body. It's not your brain, which is picking up their animal broadcasts, dear ones.

Now, some of you are good at this kind of communication. There are ones who are listening to this right now called animal whisperers, and they know exactly what I'm talking about. Why do they call it whispering? I give you my interpretation. It's because the communications are not linear, and they whisper to you through the pineal and not through brain synapse. It comes in thought groups, very softly and all at once, like the smudge. When you pick it up, you know what the dog or cat or horse or hamster or rabbit is trying to communicate. You know the requests they have, perhaps the distress they have, perhaps the celebration or the love they have.

Now, this kind of communication with animals is easy for you, because you all have felt this. I believe you know what I'm speaking about. So apply this lesson, for what I'm teaching today is no different and uses the same process you're going to use in real life and in meditation when you listen to God.

"Kryon, is it true that communicating with animals is soul communication?" Yes, it is theirs to yours, and if you're good at the interpretation of their thoughts, then why doubt yourself about the next step? Practice doing this communication with your own Higher-Self. Your Higher-Self is that part of yourself that vibrates higher than your cellular dimensionality, and it's part of your "soul group". This "soul group" is part of the nine attributes of the Human Being and is the core of you. It is the part that gives you information from the other side of the veil from that which you call God. …”


The Animals are Not Waiting for Us

The 2012 Scenario, Steve Beckow, 28 September 2012

Cross-species friendships are springing up all over. Of them, Matthew said in 2010:

“The innocence of animals, who act from instinct, never from malice, automatically qualifies all except a few species to ascend with Earth. Along the way those who now are wild will become tame, predators will become vegetarians, and all will live peaceably with each other and humankind. Already there is evidence of cross-species friendship, even mothers of one species nurturing infants of another, and instances of bonding between wild animals and humans.”  (Matthew message - Channelled bySuzanne Ward, Aug 13, 2010)

Outcry forces foie gras industry to swallow changes

Yahoo – AFP, Sandra Laffont (AFP), 17 November 2013


An employee force-feeds a duck at a foie gras production facility in Saint-Michel,
eastern France, on November 21, 2013.

Auch (France) (AFP) - Long accused of torture by animal-rights activists, French foie gras producers are admitting they may have gone too far and vowing changes to how ducks and geese are reared and their livers fattened.

They are also promising a new spirit of openness and transparency about the controversial practice of gavage -- the force-feeding of animals by passing plastic tubes through their throats directly into their stomachs.

"Maybe we did go a little too far," said Marie Pierre Pe of CIFOG, an industry group representing French foie gras producers.

"In the '80s, 30 to 35 percent of foie gras came from Eastern European countries. We had to improve production to be more competitive and maybe went too far," she said.

Employees prepare ducks on the production
 line of a foie gras manufactory, owned by
 Pierre and Philippe Perez, in Saint-Michael,
 eastern France, on November 26, 2013.
(AFP Photo/Remy Gabalda)
Animal-rights activists have carried out a sustained campaign against foie gras -- literally "fatty liver" in French -- for decades.

Its sale has been banned in California, Britain's House of Lords has taken it off its menu and Internet retailer Amazon has banned it from its website.

The delicacy -- a standard feature on French tables at Christmas and other festive occasions -- is fiercely defended by fans who argue that birds stuff themselves with food in the wild while undertaking long migratory voyages.

But critics insist the practice is cruel and a 1998 EU report showed that death rates among force-fed birds could be up to 20 times higher than in those reared normally.

Foie gras producers have also come under fire for keeping the ducks and geese in cages where they have no space to move or even spread their wings.

It was in the 1980s that France -- which accounts for 75 percent of global foie gras production -- widely adopted the practice of keeping birds in cage-like boxes.

Now steps are being taken to improve conditions, with the French agriculture ministry ordering producers by 2016 to introduce cages capable of housing at least three birds and big enough for them to move around and spread their wings.

CIFOG is also opening the doors of farms to show how the animals are reared and fed.

"Of course gavage is not very romantic and so we avoided talking about it. But now we are trying to explain it more and more," Pe said.

As part of its transparency drive, CIFOG recently showcased a farm in the southwestern region of Gers run by Pierre Peres and his twin brother, who force-feed nearly 9,000 ducks a year.

Considered an artisanal farm, it is far from typical industrial production.

At the Peres farm, ducks are kept in enclosed areas but are free to move around. Force-feeding is done individually, with feeders picking up the animals and placing them on their laps to insert a funnel in their throats.

At the start of the gavage period, which normally lasts 15 days, the ducks are fed 250 grammes of maize and the quantity is slowly increased to double that at the end.

There are about 1,500 such artisanal foie gras farms in France -- but they are hardly the norm.

The vast majority of producers, about 5,000, are industrial sites that are the main target of animal rights groups.

A visit to an industrial foie gras farm run by the Euralis group reveals a different world altogether from the Peres farm.

A thousand ducks are force-fed there, bundled in tight cages housing three birds each.

Jars with foie gras are displayed on the
shelves of a supermarket in Toulouse,
on November 28, 2013 (AFP Photo/
Remy Gabalda)
The cages are raised to human height to make the task of feeding easier for workers. The floor below is a stinking mess, with a flowing yellow river of droppings and duck fat.

In one cage several animals are clearly injured and bleeding. In another, one duck lies dead.

Xavier Fernandez, a researcher at the Institue of Agronomical Research in the southern city of Toulouse, admitted the images can be "shocking" but said visitors should "distance themselves emotionally" from what they see.

"Force feeding is no more shocking than any other method of animal husbandry," he said.

"The real question eventually is whether we should be rearing animals for human consumption at all?"

For most in France, there seems to be little doubt, even when it comes to foie gras.

An Opinionway poll in late November found that only 29 percent of the French refuse to buy foie gras for ethical reasons and that 55 percent want force-feeding to continue.

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Temple Grandin's Mother, Eustacia Cutler,
 talked to KTVO's Vanessa Alonso about
 how her daughter came over autism
 and how they are helping others.













"..  Animals and Reincarnation

On a lighter note, we interrupt the life and death discussion of Humans to talk about animals. There are the questions not asked, but laying there, of which you are more than curious. "Dear Kryon," it has been asked, "do animals reincarnate?"...

Again, the Human Being looks at animals as one word that covers trillions of entities on the planet. You believe that all of them either do or don't reincarnate, and you want one answer for them all. What if I was from another planet and communicated to you this question: "What color are animals? I want one answer, please." You'd laugh, and wonder what kind of singular consciousness I might have in my reality to ask such a thing.

So I say to you regarding your reincarnation question: Which ones? "You mean there's a difference, Kryon?" Oh, yes! We've already gone over the purpose of animals on the planet. We've told you many things about animals. We've told you that some of them are actually designed to be eaten, and they come for this very purpose. We've indicated to you what's wrong with the way you're treating them, and that you don't honor them in their death, or even as you extract their resources while they're alive. And that, my dear friends, is the reason there's disease in the meat. When you start honoring these animals in their death so that they can create the food that's needed for you, then you'll see the disease disappear.

This is a factor that has yet to be named in your language or your culture - the idea that there's an energy that the Human creates even in the appropriate slaughter of animals for food, the results of which change these animals and the health of the Human who consumes them. Why is it that the indigenous knew about it and you don't? It's an energy that addresses the consciousness of Gaia and the animal kingdom. It addresses the way animals are honored in death.

Animals don't all reincarnate, but some do - if it's appropriate for the Humans around them. Most of the animals on the planet don't reincarnate, but there are a select group and individuals who do, and even a "rule of thumb" that you can apply to those who do and those who don't. When I tell you about the ones who do, you're going to understand a little bit more about the process of who you are. Blessed is the Human Being who walks this planet in lesson: Everything revolves around you! It may not look like it, but it does. Gaia knows who you are when you walk on the dirt! You have a light that you can strike [create] and carry with you that will change the very elements around you. Matter will respond to what you do because you are the angels disguised as Human Beings.

Some of you have selected various animals on earth to be your partners or friends, and you call them pets. Even some of the ones to be slaughtered, if they have a Human who loves them, are pets... if only for a while. These are the ones who reincarnate.

"Why should such a thing be, Kryon? How does that work? Do they have souls? What's the ‘rule' you speak of?" In a way, they do have souls, but not as your souls are structured - not with the lessons your souls carry, or the multiple aspects you have. They're not angels, but they're support entities to those who are [Humans]. When they reincarnate the reason is in honor of the Human Being, you see? Animals, in general, don't last that long on the planet. You might have this beautiful partner, this love essence that you have with an animal pet-friend. Then that animal-friend disappears in death, for again, they don't live that long. The rule of incarnations is, therefore, "If the Human needs it, it happens." So there is a scenario created within the system that helps Humans temper the loss of this love, and we'll give it to you.

When your precious animal-friend dies, go look for another one right away. Don't wait. Don't wait! I'll tell you why. Immediately go looking in places where animal babies are. Make no presuppositions about the kind of animal or the gender. Don't necessarily try to match the one you lost. Instead, go to the places where you intuitively believe the young animals are, and look into their eyes. One of them will be the one... because it - and the Universe - knows intuitively where you're going to look!

This is the system that honors you. Many know this and have said, "I know this is so because when I found this other animal to be my partner and my pet, it started doing the same things that my former animal did - it even responded the same way to me." It's a beautiful system in honor of you. It's an acknowledgment of a broken heart, you see? So you can pick up where you left off.

Some may now ask, "What size animal are we talking about, Kryon? Is there a limit?" We say, there you go again [Kryon smile]. What size do you want? An elephant or a mouse? It doesn't make a difference. If they're loved by you and part of your karmic energy, they'll reincarnate. However, it might be prudent of you to intuitively look for the size of animal that meets your living needs. God doesn't give you an elephant when your mouse dies [laughter].

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Orangutans fight for survival as thirst for palm oil devastates rainforests

Palm oil plantations are destroying the Sumatran apes' habitat, leaving just 200 of the animals struggling for existence

The Guardian, The Observer, Gethin Chamberlain, Sunday 15 December 2013

Gokong Puntung, a one-year-old male orangutan, rescued from a chicken cage
at a house in Aceh, Sumatra. Photograph: Gethin Chamberlain for the Observer

Even in the first light of dawn in the Tripa swamp forest of Sumatra it is clear that something is terribly wrong. Where there should be lush foliage stretching away towards the horizon, there are only the skeletons of trees. Smoke drifts across a scene of devastation.

Tripa is part of the Leuser Ecosystem, one of the world's most ecologically important rainforests and once home to its densest population of Sumatran orangutans.

As recently as 1990, there were 60,000 hectares of swamp forest in Tripa: now just 10,000 remain, the rest grubbed up to make way for palm oil plantations servicing the needs of some of the world's biggest brands. Over the same period, the population of 2,000 orangutans has dwindled to just 200.

In the face of international protests, Indonesia banned any fresh felling of forests two years ago, but battles continue in the courts over existing plantation concessions.

Here, on the edge of one of the remaining stands of forest, it is clear that the destruction is continuing.

Deep trenches have been driven through the peat, draining away the water, killing the trees, which have been burnt and bulldozed. The smell of wood smoke is everywhere. But of the orangutans who once lived here, there is not a trace.


This is the tough physical landscape in which environmental campaigners fighting to save the last of the orangutans are taking on the plantation companies, trying to keep track of what is happening on the ground so that they can intervene to rescue apes stranded by the destruction.

But physically entering the plantations is dangerous and often impractical; where the water has not been drained away, the ground is a swamp, inhabited by crocodiles. Where canals have been cut to drain away the water, the dried peat is thick and crumbly and it is easy to sink up to the knees. Walking even short distances away from the roads is physically draining and the network of wide canals has to be bridged with logs. The plantations do not welcome visitors and the Observer had to evade security guards to gain entrance.

To overcome these problems, campaigners have turned to a technology that has become controversial for its military usage but that in this case could help to save the orangutans and their forest: drones.

Graham Usher, from the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme, produces a large flight case and starts to unpack his prized possession, a polystyrene Raptor aircraft with a two-metre wingspan and cameras facing forward and down.

The £2,000 drone can fly for more than half an hour over a range of 30-40km, controlled by a computer, recording the extent of the destruction of the forest.

"The main use of it is to get real time data on forest loss and confirm what's going on with fires," he says.

Habitats under threat. Photograph: Observer

They can also use the drone to track animals that have been fitted with radio collars. Graham opens his computer and clicks on a video. Immediately, the screen fills with an aerial view of forest, then a cleared patch of land and then new plantation as the drone passes overhead. "We are getting very powerful images of what is going on in the field," he says.

The footage is helping them to establish where new burning is taking place and which plantations are potentially breaking the law. Areas of forest where the peat is deeper than three metres should be protected – the peat is a carbon trap – but in practice many plantations do not measure the depth.

"They shouldn't be developing it but the power of commerce and capital subverts all legislation in this country. There is no law enforcement or rule of law," says Usher.

The battle to save the orangutans is not helped by the readiness of multinational corporations to use palm oil from unverified sources. Hundreds of products on UK supermarket shelves are made with palm oil or its derivatives sourced from plantations on land that was once home to Sumatran orangutans.

Environmental campaigners say that the complex nature of the palm oil supply chain makes it uniquely difficult for companies to ensure that the oil they use has been produced ethically and sustainably.

"One of the big issues is that we simply don't know where the palm oil used in products on UK supermarket shelves comes from. It may well be that it came from Tripa," says Usher.

In October, the Rainforest Foundation UK singled out Superdrug and Procter and Gamble (particularly its Head and Shoulders, Pantene and Herbal Essences hair products) for criticism over the use of unsustainable palm oil. A traffic light system produced using the companies' responses to questions from the Ethical Consumer group also placed Imperial Leather, Original Source and Estée Lauder hair products in the red-light category.

A separate report by Greenpeace, also issued in October into Sumatran palm oil production, accused Procter and Gamble and Mondelez International (formerly Kraft) of using "dirty" palm oil. The group called on the brands to recognise the environmental cost of "irresponsible palm oil production". According to the Rainforest Foundation's executive director, Simon Counsell, part of the problem is that even companies that do sign up to ethical schemes, such as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, cannot be certain that all the oil they receive is ethically produced because of the way oil from different plantations is mixed at processing plants.

"The smaller companies sell to bigger companies and it all gets mixed. Even those companies making some effort cannot be certain that what they are getting is what they have paid for," he said.

Driving out of Tripa, the whole area appears to have been given over to palm oil plantations; some long-established, 20-25ft tall trees in regimented rows, others recently planted. Every now and again there is a digger, driving a new road into what little forest remains, the first stage of the process that will end with the forest burned and gone and replaced with young oil palms.

There is a steady flow of lorries loaded with palm fruits, heading for the processing plant not far from the town of Meulaboh. From there, tankers take the oil to the city of Medan for shipping onwards.

It is outside Medan that the orangutan victims of clearances are taken to recover, at the SOCP's quarantine centre. These are the animals rescued from isolated stands of forest or from captivity. Those that can be will eventually be released back into another part of the island.

Anto, a local orangutan expert, says the spread of the plantations is fragmenting the remaining forest and isolating the orangutans.

"Then people are poaching the orangutans because it is easy to catch them," he says. "People isolate them in a tree and then they cut the tree or they make the orangutan so afraid that it climbs down and is caught. After that they can kill it and sometimes eat it. Or they can trade it."

This is what happened to Gokong Puntung and his mother. The one-year-old ape – now recovering with the help of SOCP – was rescued from Sidojadi village in February. He had been captured a month earlier in the Tripa forest.

A group of fishermen spotted Gokong Puntung and his mother trapped in a single tree and unable to reach the rest of the forest without coming down. The men apparently decided to try to grab the baby in the hope of selling it. One climbed the tree, forcing the mother to fall to the ground, where another man set about her and beat her with a length of timber. In the confusion, mother and baby became separated and the fishermen were able to get away. They sold the animal for less than £6 to a plantation worker.

"We got information from people who heard an orangutan crying in one house," says SOCP vet Yenny Saraswati. "They went in the house and found the baby orangutan in a chicken cage. The owner said he had bought it from people who had taken it from the plantation."

It was a very unusual case: more often, the mother is killed.

"They are very good mothers – better than humans," she says. "A lot of human mothers don't care for their babies, but I have never seen an orangutan leave its baby. They always hug them and don't let them cry."

That's why poachers tend to kill the mothers, says Anto. "They hit it with sticks. One person uses a forked stick to hold its head and the others hit it and beat it to death. But the young orangutans they sell."

The effect on Tripa's orangutans has been disastrous. Cut off from the population on the rest of the island, they teeter on the brink of viability; experts say they really need a population of about 250 to survive long term and, because orangutans produce offspring only once every six or seven years, it takes a long time to replenish a depleted population.

Those that remain in the forest face other dangers. Some die when the forest is burned, others starve to death as their food supply is destroyed.

If the orangutans did not already have it tough, there may yet be worse to come: gold has been found in Aceh's remaining forests and mining is starting.

"If there is no government effort to protect the remaining area, we will never know the orangutans here again," says Anto.

"If this continues they will be gone within 10 years."

In response to the criticism over its use of unsustainable palm oil, Superdrug said it "is aware of the complex issues surrounding palm oil and its derivatives, which are currently used in some of its own-brand products, and is committed to working with its suppliers to use sustainable alternatives when they become widely available."

Estée Lauder Companies, which makes Aveda hair products, said: "We share the concern about the potential environmental effects of palm oil plantations, including deforestation and the destruction of biodiversity and habitats."

The statement said that its palm oil (made from the pulped fruit) came from sustainable sources. But the company said the majority of its brands used palm kernel oil (from the crushed palm fruit kernels) and that it was working to develop sustainable supplies.

"We are committed to acting responsibly and will continue to work with our suppliers to find the best ways to encourage and support the development of sustainable palm kernel oil sources."

PZ Cussons, which makes Original Source and Imperial Leather products, along with the Sanctuary SPA range, said it was committed to using raw materials from sustainable and environmentally friendly sources wherever possible.

The company said it had "embarked on a sustainability journey" and was working with other producers to gain a better understanding of the supply chain and "to promote the growth and use of sustainable oil palm products". Mondelez International (formerly Kraft) said it wanted to eliminate unethical plantations from its supply chain by 2020.

"We fully share concerns about the environmental impacts of palm oil production, including deforestation. As a final buyer, engaging our supply chain is the most meaningful action we can take to ensure palm oil is grown sustainably," said a spokesman.

"Palm oil should be produced on legally held land, protecting tropical forests and peat land, respecting human rights, including land rights, and without forced or child labour.

"We expect palm oil suppliers to provide us transparency on the proportion of their supplies traceable to plantations meeting these principles by the end of 2013 and to eliminate supplies that do not meet these criteria by 2020."

Procter & Gamble, which makes Head and Shoulders, Herbal Essences and Pantene products, said it was "strongly opposed to irresponsible deforestation practices and our position on the sustainable sourcing of palm oil is consistent with our corporate sustainability principles and guidelines.

"We are committed to the sustainable sourcing of palm oil and have set a public target that, by 2015, we will only purchase palm oil from sources where sustainable and responsible production has been confirmed."

FIGHT FOR EXISTENCE

Orangutans are facing extinction as their habitats are becoming fragmented and agricultural production expands.

Populations of orangutans have been broken up into groups and this is causing a problem for the survival of the species.

The WWF estimates that a century ago there were more than 230,000 orangutans living in the wild, now they think there are only 41,000 in Borneo and 7,500 in Sumatra. Others put the figures at 54,000 in Borneo and 6,600 in Sumatra.

Some conservationists predict that orangutans could disappear in as little as 20 to 30 years, others think it could happen in a few hundred years.

Orangutans share 96.4% of their genes with humans.